Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life in a Freezer

Its hard to believe that just one year ago I was saying goodbye to my brother with the expectation that we'd be together again, not just once but for a life time. My wish was to see him grow to be a husband(a good one), a father and a close friend. We did see each other that spring and had the honor of introducing the loves of our lives to one another and that was good. But I hoped for more. Deep down I dreamed of having kids at the same time, that our kids could be friends and spend the summers together camping, moto n up with dad and the uncles, knowing what it is to have someone with you and for you regardless...

Korea is cold right now, hence the title. Diana was sick through Christmas with the flu and then was hit with food poisoning last Thursday night. It took several days for her to be able to eat and not feel nauseous. Shes better now and next week we'll be leaving for holiday in Thailand to celebrate our fifth anniversary! We are both excited about this new adventure.
We've been using the chance here in Korea to catch up on health related items, like going to the dentist and getting new glass. Not exciting but necessary. If anyone who's reading this is wondering why I haven't been responding to emails or Facebook messages its because of all the illness and prep for travel.

I don't know how many times I've wrote this, but tonight its really raw and I need to express how much I miss Nat. Today was a good day, but it hurts. Going to Thailand is amazing, exciting and will be very fun. And that's eating at me, see Nat and I shared a great hunger for adventure and loved to talk about all of our trips and experiences. So now in the next six months God willing will travel to Thailand, Kenya, Uganda and back to the USA (not all at the same time) and I don't have him to share it with. That's what gets me. We had a good relationship for brothers, for many years he was my best friend. We did a lot together and through his love of people I was able to be open to others. He brought people into my world that I now love deeply and would have never seen or cared for otherwise. Nat was a great connector.
God had a reason for allowing him to be killed, (that reason does not justify what that man did), but a reason all the same. The fact that seven people received organs and all the dreams people have had since, says there's a reason.
I know the media has taken the murders side in SD, that he's free and in the same area as all of Nat's good friends, that the defense lawyer lied along with the defendant all the way through the trial and a whole lot of other things have taken place.
But God is good, my friend Kris sent me and email that he dreamed of seeing Nat and was told he's in a place like heaven. Diana had a dream of him talking to me, exposing some very deep struggles that he had with our faith. See Nat knew Jesus Christ and for some reason, he was taken out of this world. Nat loved God, but couldn't make the sacrifices to live it out. Will you?
When I first arrived at the hospital in SD I told Jessie that this would be used for good. Deeply I still believe it. Its time for folks to start making the right choices with their lives, before its too late. Two months before Nat died I was compelled to tell him a scripture which is, 'if you try to save your life you will lose it, but if you give it up for Me (Jesus) you will be saved.' I had no idea.
Now I'm sorry I don't remember his name, but the friend who was shot to death on Cooper Mt. in front of a church, he was given a chance before he died to receive Christ. Please, you may not get one.
My heart and prayers are with everyone back at home, I love you, remember you only have now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008





I, yes, me Diana not Nick who has worked so hard on this blogger thus far, but I the ever so flaky Diana have finally contributed to this blogger so that you might all know what we've been up to. I'm not going to write a whole explanation of everthing we've done but if you watch this slide show, you'll get the IDEA!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

October








October was action packed!! We went to two National Parks, got stranded in one, rescued by some Rangers and hit a zombie with a dodge ball. The first park is Odeasan National Park, east of Seoul almost at the coast. It is very beautiful, especially since it is fall and everything was in color. We took a bus out to the park but didn't get there till late. Unfortunately we arrived on the last bus and the cabin we planed on renting was full. So we were stranded with nothing but some clothes, blankets and no food! When it started getting dark I went and talked to some park rangers, they hooked us up with a ride into town where we ruffed it in a motel. The next day we went back and spent the whole day hiking around and sough a lot of Buddhist temples that had managed to not be destroyed in the war. I think there is a bit a commonality between the temples here and Native American architecture in the Pacific Northwest. Two weeks later we went to Soroksan with a bunch of friend from work. We spent the night in a jinjabong, which is like a bathhouse (not the creepy kind that older single men keep wanting to build in Portland) with a coed area that you can sleep and eat in. They give you spiffy uniform shorts and shirts to wear, green for guys and blue for women. It cost us $14 to stay the night, though it was too loud to sleep, these Koreans don't understand how to be quite! We slept in this weird little cubby that resembled a cocoon. Next day everyone trekked off to Soroksan. James and Diana were both sick so we opted out of the big hike with Mark, Jeanette and Bill to the top and instead took a cable car up to a peak. It was amazing, from the top you can see out to the Eastern Sea and the city of Sokcho and the the opposite direction is nothing but massive jagged peaks. Next to the top is an engraving stand with some guys who seem like they are really hard core mountain climbers. They tried to sell us plagues with our names in them, but since we took a cable car almost the entire way up we passed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SEV

Bok Chu Emo


















Cousin Song-won










Kids in the auditorium














Diana with a kid who randomly dressed up like a squirrel


























Umm yah













My first ESL class, everybody make an A!











Near Girum Station












Looking down from the teachers housing at student dorms and main buildings












Our apartment, center 2nd floor









During breaks allot of kids hangout at the fountain













Science and Hair salon class





















Clock tower and teacher housing from sports field
















Diana, Kim Kee Bum from Sorabol restaurant in SE PDX and his girlfriend Hee Jin (they're awesome) near US embassy and the main palace for former royalty of Korea






Me in front of our future home


Monday, September 29, 2008

Mama Mia


We had just finished up an amazing dinner at Diana's aunts house for Korean Thanksgiving and where on our way to a movie theater. Songwon, Diana's cousin asked me if Mama Mia was OK. I said sure, not knowing what those word entailed. My first indication of it not being 'OK' was when Songwon's husband dropped us off at the theater and conveniently had work to work for two hours. As we got out of his car he gave me the 'look' and the special handshake. Guys you know the one. That look of "I'm sorry for what your about to go through."

The movie started out with some girl talking to herself and putting letters in the mail, then sparkles blasted across the screen. My mind didn't register that immanent doom approached. Pierce Brosman showed up in the next scene and I thought if James Bond is in this it cant be bad. Ohhh no was I wrong.
All I can say about the film is there is no need for waterboarding when Hollywood comes out with stuff like this.
But that's not all. For the last two weeks an unnamed person here on the compound had the Mama Mia sound track broadcasted across the campus every day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not until the teachers banded together, assaulted the main office with makeshift weapons and firebombs, took the bosses pet raccoon captive and threaten to shave it did the horrificness end. Well not really, but you get my point. I now have a brick with ABBA's name on it.

Things are actually really good here. We have some friends we meet up with in the city, have good living quarters and are going to an English speaking church. Korea is the right place for me and Diana.


We have had allot of random encounters here in Seoul. A few days ago Diana and I were walking and this old dude in army coveralls and a camo hat yelled at us from across the street, "you are handsome, and you are beautiful." Then to me, "you are ugly, she beautiful, you lucky."
July late one night somewhere in Suyu a guy with yellow fizzy, shoulder length hair saluted me and then gave Diana his umbrella.
















FOOD TO GO Diana with an evil Mickey


With the weather getting colder it will be easier to blog.
Please pray for my mom and dad they are in San Diego now at the trial for the man who killed Nat.



Love you,
Nick

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alright, we're back from North Korea and it was everything 'they' told us it would be! We never knew how evil Capitalism is or how the Expansionist, Imperialist Pig-dogs of Emerica are. The diet did wonders for our figures and we both have our own copy of the Communist Manifesto, with styling red suspenders. I'm wearing mine right now!



Sorry it took so long to write another blog, we never went to North Korea, just had some problems with getting blogger to work, plus the flu, plus being a bit lazy. So here it is.



What do you get when you take a former backhoe operator, turned ballet producer who's out of work, at a Rob Zombie concert? You get the most fantastic, hair raising, mind blowing, universe expanding thingy ever, which is the Monster Ballet. We had the fortune of seeing it live right on the banks of the Mighty Han river at the Hi Seoul festival. The show was comparable to watching Battle Beyond the Stars for the first time.


videoWe could almost not contain a corrous of, "Do the robot!" Oh yeah! Before the ballet we saw a little bit of the bird man competition, which consisted of guys in handmade wing suites jumping off a ramp into the water. Here's a couple of videos;
video




video


That day it rained allot, the folks running the event handed out plastic raincoats which made the place look strangely occult, with hundreds of people all in white, pointy hooded covers. It was allot of fun and afterwards we went to a club with about 12 of our coworkers called FF (Funky Fresh). They had a live band and one of coworkers Dave managed to talk them down to 1/2 price for us. The band was really good.



video


Some folks we're a bit 'pissed' as British put it, that night.


Since it took so long to get anything up I'll post this now and then keep adding to it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Monsoons, Barbarshoops and How to Embarass Korean kids

Hey everybody,

So we don't have any pictures up yet because our camera battery is dead and we haven't found a converter for it. Everything that is rare takes about an hour or two hours to get to.

Over the last weekend Diana and I met one of here cousins Unea, Unea's husband and daughter and their aunt, who lives one metro (subway) stop away. Very nice folks, Diana fit right in with them as if she never was away. Our friend Alex from Sorebole restaurant back in PDX and his lady joined us to help with translations. It was quite nice, Korean BBQ, sitting on the floor and as much ponjong as you could eat. On the way there we passed a Crazy, Cross dressing, Karoking Korean man in a sparking miniskirt in front of some business. advertisement must be expensive these days.
Allot of work this last week, all situational classes, "Hello welcome to Seoul English Village can I see your passport please." and stuff like that, not hard and allot of fun if the kids behave.
For some reason K-kids think calling you Chucky's father is a viscous burn, even though they have never seen the movie. Poor kids would crap themselves for at least a month, ha ha. My favorite way to get them is when ever they try to tell me about someone on their team who is the opposite sex, I ask them if it's there boy/girlfriend. That flips them out so bad, I actually got this girl to turn pink with embarrassment and laughter.
I made it through Nat's birthday, it was hard.
Between July and August is monsoon season here, so when its not raining its really muggy and hot, too the point where we get soaked just from being outside for awhile. Its raining hard right now which makes it allot cooler, I like it really. Just one problem with it is that some of the rain is acid because of the pollution, I have some good photos of the burns spots and stalactites next to our apartment in the stairwell.
Yesterday I went out to get a hair cut. Now this can be tricky not just because of the language barrier, but also because most of the hair salons, barbershops and whorehouse have the traditional barber pole in varying forms. To add more to the predicament some barbershops are also brothels, and there is no discriminatory areas set aside for this kind of 'business', it all meshes together. So I set out yesterday for a haircut only, thank you, with a great sense of caution. Coworkers advised me to look in through the windows of these 'shops' before entering to see the nature of business, if its the funny stuff the windows are covered or the entryway goes into a seedy stairwell. After about 40 minutes of wandering around Dangdamun (our neighborhood) I found a hair salon with no pole and a sign that read, "Hair Salon International". I felt fairly confident that it would be a good selection. Upon entering, the lady took my bag, sat me down at a barber chair and served me a nice glass of cool juice. So far, so good. Then she proceeded to start shutting all the doors. I started to get nervous sitting there while this older woman in net stockings appeared to be closing up the shop with me in it! I thought maybe there was a whole other factor to be wary of that was not previously mentioned before hand. Then I thought, "Were the crap is my bag if I need to make a run for it!!!
It turns out she was just turning on the AC, what a relief, and the hair reduction was only $8. Its not bad lookin either.